Women's Residency Lab


NALIP Artist Retreat Center residencies available!

Applications Due Mon August 3, 2015 at 12midnight!

Announcing the 2015 Artist Retreat Center (ARC) Women Filmmakers of Color Residencies Program taking place Oct. 3-11.  12 exceptional women artists will be invited to work on their projects at a private 100-acre farm in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont during prime New England Foliage Viewing Season.  ARC Residencies offer an inspired setting for work and reflection during the day, with evening gatherings over healthy prepared meals, followed by presentations and discussion from fellow artists, mentoring, and an artist’s strategic planning workshop during your stay.  You will have a room (single or double) in one of three charming country houses shared with other ARC artists in a private Vermont estate overlooking organic fields, forests, a private pond, and nearby Jay Peak Mountain 

The ARC is a signature program supporting:

-Narrative Features or Scripts

-Documentary works-in-progress

-Digital Web series or scripts

RESIDENCY COST: There is an ARC fee of $750.00 to join the residency. You will be expected to cover your roundtrip transportation to Burlington, VT if flying, or to North Troy, VT if driving.  For those not driving to the ARC, a van will be available to drive ARC fellows from Burlington airport to the ARC 1 ½ hours away on Friday Oct. 3 in the late afternoon (4pm), and then return on Sunday, Oct. 11 in the early morning to the Burlington Airport.

RESIDENCY FELLOWSHIPS AVAIL: The ARC fellowship provides up to $700.00 travel and food stipend to offset the cost of transport and meals for the ARC residency.  A limited number of fellowships are available.

TRAVEL DETAILS: Residents will be responsible for booking travel to and from Burlington, VT airport to arrive by 4pm Saturday, Oct. 3 and return to the airport Sunday Oct. 11 by 12noon.  The ARC is located near the town of North Troy, VT in a private estate, 3 ½ drive North of Boston, or an 8-hour drive from NYC.  Address will be given only to confirmed ARC fellows.  Bring passport to enter Canada for group field trip!



Each artist is expected to work independently on their project and will be asked to present to the group on their work in the evening after dinner at least once.  Projects most suited to this residency include writing or laptop-based editing projects (you are expected to bring your own technology).  Each artist is assigned a quiet private space for work, and is not to be disturbed during the day, although all are welcome to gather in common areas or enjoy walks in the private woods or to the nearby waterfall, to dip in the pond on the grounds, or walk to the nearby river or waterfall.  A few group outings will be organized for those wishing to explore the area.

DUE – Applications due Mon. August 3, 2014 at midnight to X

ARC NOTIFICATION- Applicants will be notified of admission status by August 21.  Please only apply if you are sure you would be able to join us for the full time.  Acceptance emails go out Aug. 28, we need to hear confirmation AND receive a program payment fee of $800 to confirm your place by Sept. 4 otherwise the residency will be offered to another worthy artist.



nina.pngNina Alvarez  

Nina Alvarez is an award-winning television journalist, producer, and filmmaker. Among several documentaries, her film, The New Americans, premiered on PBS in 2013 as part of the acclaimed series, Latino Americans which was awarded a Peabody Award this year. Her feature-length documentary on the commercial sexual exploitation of minors, Very Young Girls, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, and aired on Showtime.  She was also a producer of the Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award-winning film Which Way Home. Nina has covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and worked in Pakistan, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania.  She has made documentaries for MSNBC, Univision, Discovery Channel, and MTV News and Documentary and produced for World News TonightNightline, Turning PointGood Morning America, and 20/20, based in New York, Miami and Mexico City. 

Nina Alvarez   Project:  Nigeria accounts for ten percent of the world’s maternal deaths; a woman’s chances of dying while giving birth are one in 13.  After 60 years and billions of dollars in aid have failed to change this reality, a new generation of Nigerians is challenging this status quo.  THE LUCKY ONES SURVIVE is a feature-length observational documentary, following one woman as she fights for her life while in labor, and another who has survived but with devastating injuries.  As these personal narratives unfold, Nigerian attorneys and investigators build a case to sue the Nigerian government for the preventable deaths of thousands of its women citizens.  (Documentary)


xan.pngXan Aranda

Xan Aranda is an award-winning independent filmmaker and a consultant, Xan Aranda created the album trailer for Grammy nominee Neko Case, viewed over 132,000 times since its release online. Her directorial debut ANDREW BIRD: FEVER YEAR (“A cunning hybrid of documentary and concert film.” --Film Society of Lincoln Center) had its world premiere at the New York Film Festival, screened with over ninety film festivals, and received nine awards. Affiliated with documentary powerhouse Kartemquin Films since 2007, Xan is directing a documentary inspired by religious educational films her mother starred in while a student at Brigham Young University during the 1960s.

Xan Aranda Project:  Inspired by dramatic religious educational films her mother starred in while a student at Brigham Young University during the 1960s, a filmmaker faces her personal departure from the (LDS) Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and its impact on their promise of a “forever family.” Against the backdrop of this evolving religion’s American and Mexican pioneer roots, Mormon Movie (WT) chronicles director Xan Aranda’s reconnection with the LDS community, interweaving her story of teenage doubt with her mother’s films and enduring faith, Xan’s father’s struggle as a closeted gay Mormon Mexican, and her quest to create a fictional short film with collaborators in Utah.  (Documentary film.)


yareli.pngYareli Arizmendi

Yareli was born in Mexico City. A proud Cuban-Mexican AND American, she studied high school in Kansas. She got her BA in Political Science from UC San Diego and went on to receive her MFA at the same institution. She is best known for her role as Rosaura, the "mean" sister in 'Like Water for Chocolate' and Lila Rodriguez, "the missing link" in a A Day Without a Mexican, which she co-wrote with her husband, Sergio Arau. They are presently writing the sequel entitled Another Day Without a Mexican: This Time It's Personal.   

Yareli Arizmendi Project: Yareli, a Mexican-Cuban and American, is working on The Story of Y: A Curious Memoir.  A personal account and the basis for a screenplay, The Story of Y brings a bi-national, bicultural social reality into sharp focus through the inventive survival of a young girl.  

"I was nineteen the last time I spoke with my father.  He died twenty nine years later." 

His death and a forgotten letter written thirty six years ago, awaken the voice of the little girl who pushed hard to grow up fast.  (Narrative Script.)


kimberly.pngKimberly Bautista

Kimberly Bautista's feature-length documentary film, Justice for My Sister, has screened in over 20 countries as part of a transnational campaign to prevent gender-based violence. The film won the HBO/NALIP 2012 Documentary Filmmaker Award, and Best Documentary at film festivals in Holland, Bolivia, Guatemala, Nevada, and Los Angeles. She has spoken as an expert on the topics of gender-based violence and representation of women and girls in the media at the United Nations Office at Geneva, and at the International Public Television Screening Conference (INPUT) in El Salvador. She acted as jury member for the Connect the Docs Transmedia Pitch Competition at the 2013 Hot Docs Conference & Forum in Toronto, Canada. Kimberly produced PSAs for Univision and segments for LATV's American Latino. She has worked for TLC, Morgan Spurlock, and Patricia Cardoso. She holds a Master's in Social Documentation from University of California, Santa Cruz for film production.  

Kimberly Bautista Project: The Sweet Spot is a 12-episode dramatic comedy with about normalized depression, peculiar relationships, and approaching 30 in the digital age and in the wake of the economic crisis as a Latin@ in the greater Los Angeles area.  (Narrative script) 


maria.pngMaría Agui Carter:  Artist –In Residence and Master filmmaker/Mentor

Maria is an award-winning filmmaker and founder of Iguana Films, writing and directing both dramatic and documentary works screened and broadcast nationally and internationally.  Two recent works have had national broadcasts on PBS No Job for a Woman, and REBEL, winner of the 2014 Erik Barnouw Honorable Mention Award as best historical film in America.  The REBEL director’s cut premiered at Frameline Film Festival and is touring theatrically across the country (rebeldocumentary.com). 14 Freight Trains, her new play about the first American soldier to die in Iraq, an undocumented Latino, will premiere at Arena Stage fall 2014 as part of OUR WAR.  Ms. Agui Carter grew up an undocumented "Dreamer," graduated from Harvard, is a Trustee of NALIP, and a member of the Writer’s Guild.  She has been the winner of  Warren, Rockefeller, George Peabody Gardner, CPB, and NALIP fellowships, and her films have been supported by ITVS (Independent Television Services), NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) and NEH (National Endowment for Humanities) grants, among others.  She has served as a visiting artist/scholar at Harvard, Tulane and Brandeis universities.

María Agui Carter’s Project:  The Secret Life of La Mariposa:  In this arthouse narrative drama with forays into magic realism and fantasy, an undocumented 13-year-old named Mari must survive sexual abuse from a stepfather who is her only ticket to citizenship, and the disappointment of a mother who does not choose to save her, while using her wit and imagination to battle the dark forces arrayed against her.  (Narrative Script)


Screen_Shot_2014-09-04_at_9.38.48_AM.pngSonia Fritz

Sonia’s recent credits include co-directing Chapter 1 and 2 of the PBS series Latin Americans that won the Peabody Award 2014 and is nominated for an Imagen Award. Her present projects are a feature film Marina’ Secret World an adventure story for children, and a documentary on an all female Mariachi band, Flor de Toloache. She directed the feature film America based on the novel America’s Dream by Esmeralda Santiago, selected at numerous festivals, including Montreal, Guadalajara, Cinequest, HBO Latino in NY, Huelva; won Best Actress at the Rabat International Film Festival in Morocco, Best Jury Award at the Houston Film Festival, Best Director at the Rincon International Film Festival, Jury Prize at FEMI in Guadeloupe. 

She has directed over twenty five documentaries about social and cultural topics in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the US. Her recurring subject matters are migration, gender, and art and culture.

Sonia Fritz Project: An all female mariachi band gives new meaning to traditional music through their gender, diverse racial backgrounds and fusions.  Following the personal stories of the founder, Mireya Ramos –vocals and violin, Verónica Medellín –guitarrón- the only Mexican in the band, and Shea Fiol, vocals and vihuela, this documentary takes us to a journey of passion, talent and personal struggles as they open doors to other young musicians.  (Documentary)


beni.pngBeni Matias

Beni is a Puerto Rican filmmaker, educator and media advocate, who has extensively produced and directed documentaries independently, for public television and nonprofits. Her documentary film El Corazón de Loisaida (The Heart of Loisaida), produced and directed with Marci Reaven, was recognized by the New York Public Library as part of their major film preservation initiative, “Twentieth Century Mirrors: America Through the Eyes of Independent Filmmakers.” She is currently producer/director of the documentary ¡Coquito! (funded by LPB) with producers Tami Gold and Sonia Gonzalez-Martinez.

Beni Matias  Project:  ¡Coquito! Coquito, the Puerto Rican traditional Christmas drink, is a metaphor for a cultural longing that many Puerto Ricans in the diaspora feel for the island they left behind. When slowly sipped it opens the floodgate of memory.   (Documentary)



sofia.pngSofia Quintero

After graduating from Columbia University with a BA in history-sociology and an MPA from its School of International and Public Affairs, Sofia Quintero began her first career as a policy wonk. Then in 1999, the self-proclaimed Ivy League homegirl decided to heed the muse. Since then Sofia has published five novels included Divas Don’t Yield and her award-winning young adult debut Efrain’s Secret. She has also contributed to the anthologies Juicy Mangos, Dirty Girls, Names I Call My Sister and What You Wish For, the proceeds of which fund libraries for the children of Darfur.  Most recently Sofia earned an MFA in writing and producing TV as Long Island University’s TV Writers and is completing her sixth novel Show and Prove to be published by Knopf in 2015.

Sofia Quintero Project: Within the next 24 hours, the State of New York intends to execute student activist Daniel Rosen for the shooting death of a security guard during the botched takeover of a community museum in Woodside, Queens, New York City. Everyone is pulling out the stops to save his life. Everyone, that is, except Daniel Rosen. In the vein of Inside Man and The Usual Suspects, The 4th Defiance is a why-done-it of a man who is willing to sacrifice his life for a murder he didn’t commit in order to protect the women he loves, including the enigmatic professor who might have set him up and the teenage legend he never met. (Narrative Script).


brooke.pngBrooke Pepion Swaney

Brooke Pepion Swaney, M.F.A., (Blackfeet/Salish) is an emerging filmmaker and presently a Time Warner Fellow through the Sundance Institute. Since her undergraduate work at Stanford University, Brooke has worked to add dimension to otherwise stereotypical representations of American Indians through her films. “OK Breathe Auralee,” her NYU graduate thesis film, screened at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.  It also was finalist in NBC/Universal’s Short Cuts Film Festival, wherein the lead actress won Best Actor. Amongst editing, Brooke’s experience also includes producing a local feature film, “Bella Vista, ” the mobile documentary project “The Blackfeet Flood,” and freelance work on political campaigns and corporate videos around Montana.

Brooke Pepion Swaney Project: It’s 1890. Natosiyaki, a young mixed-blood Native woman is wed to an Irish homesteader, Sean. At first their love is passionate and tender, but as the blue skies of summer fade into the oppressive sunless winter, their relationship transforms into abuse. Sean kills her. Natosiyaki’s sister, Soksistsikaakii, avenges her sister’s death, getting away with murder to some, and keeping with tradition to others.  (Narrative Script)


ela.pngEla Troyano Artist –In Residence and Master filmmaker/Mentor

Ela Troyano is a Cuban-born filmmaker based in New York City. Her work has been shown at the Berlin International Film Festival, MoMA, the Guggenheim, the Kitchen, PBS, the Kino Arsenal, the New Horizons Film Festival in Poland and other international venues. A retrospective of her work was screened in Berlin at the Arsenal Institute For Film and Video Art in 2012. A performance and installation of her work with her sister, performance artist Carmelita Tropicana, was presented at El Museo del Barrio with partner organization PS 122. Her films include Carmelita Tropicana Your Kunst Is Your Waffen and Latin Boys Go To Hell, and La Lupe, Queen of Latin Soul. Troyano has worked as a director for network and cable television in the US, Mexico and Spain. Select awards include USA and Rockefeller Fellowships, screenwriting workshop at Sundance with Gabriel Garcia Marquez and funding from the Jerome Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Latino Public Broadcasting, the Independent Television Service and New York State Council on the Arts. 

Ela Troyano Project: Ela Troyano is currently developing Fever, a feature film based on the legendary Afro-Cuban singer and gay icon La Lupe, known for her expressive performance style. The film begins as La Lupe arrives, a young 26 year old in New York City in 1962, broke without knowing anyone. She quickly records with Mongo Santamaria before Tito Puente steals her for his band in 1964. By 1968, on her own musically, her young son pins a crown on her—she is now the Queen of Latin Soul.   (Narrative Script).


dawn.pngDawn Valadez

Dawn Valadez began her career working with young people in after-school and group home settings. With more than 20 years in the field of social welfare Dawn creates, assesses and implements community projects and raises millions of dollars for programs, artists and filmmakers, and social causes. Dawn co-produced the award winning documentary, GOING ON 13 that was funded by Cal Humanities, LPB, ITVS and many others. It screened around the world and broadcast on public television. TURN IT AROUND is Dawn’s current feature documentary project about the “home grown teacher movement” and includes a mobile app teacher recruitment tool.

Dawn Valadez Project: TURN IT AROUND tells the stories of five adults traveling a new education pipeline: from city streets back into classrooms -- but this time, as educators. Hoping to revitalize the system that failed them, Ana, Jari, Joe, Deprece, and Sergio work to break the cycle of high teacher turnover and outsider teachers in their communities’ schools. TURN IT AROUND follows a group of bold new educators as they try to flip the system from the inside out, with surprising results. (Documentary)


yvonne.pngYvonne Russo

Yvonne Russo is an award-winning producer, director and writer of film, television and web.  Russo has produced a diverse range of international productions in over 14 countries from Rajasthan, India, to the East African Nation of Rwanda.  Her projects include, “40 Under 40,” a documentary featuring America’s top 40 visual artists under 40 years of age, a CBS/ Smithsonian Network production; the National Geographic series, “Nat Geo’s Most Amazing Photos”; National Geographic’s “Capturing the Deep,” as well as Nat Geo’s “All Roads Film Project” and TLC/Discovery’s “Bringing Home Baby” series, which she also directed. “Nat Geo’s Top Ten Photos of 2010;” “The Other Milan,” an episode from the series “Nat Geo’s Most Amazing Photos,” are among her writing credits. She has produced over 75 “Behind the Photo” segments that were syndicated on the National Geographic International Channel and on the web.  Russo’s feature film work includes, THE RESCUERS: HEROES OF THE HOLOCAUST nominated for “Outstanding Documentary” at the 2012 NAACP Awards (Co-Producer), and NATURALLY NATIVE, TRUE WHISPERS: THE STORY OF THE NAVAJO CODETALKERS (Producer, Launched at Sundance).  Russo is from the Sicangu Lakota Nation.

Yvonne Russo Project: VIVA VERDI – Guiseppe Verdi, the most influential Italian Opera composer of the 19th century, willed his vast fortune to build a retirement home, Casa Verdi for aging international musicians and artists. Many of the residents are living legends, marvelously eccentric artists and divas performing well beyond their prime, are mentoring young international students – A cross-generational mixing of young and old, and culturally and ethnically diverse - are held together by an implacable commitment and passion for music creating a highly charged atmosphere where the human spirit truly transcends both time and space.  VIVA VERDI! Reveals how Verdi’s vision is not only alive and well today, but thriving – a life affirming reminder of how music moves us at a fundamental level, and how nurturing artistic expression can create an ageless joy.  (Documentary)


rachel.pngRachel Watanabe-Batton

Rachel Watanabe-Batton began her career in development at Spring Creek/Warner Bros and assisting Australian director Peter Weir.  She co-founded the music video company Department of Film and has directed and produced content for WGBH, Martha Stewart, Global Hue and the Office of Minority Health.  She has produced documentaries, television and new media for HBO, Discovery, Lionsgate, and is currently developing films with Julie Dash and Tanya Hamilton. Rachel is Vice Chair of Producers Guild of America East, PGA Diversity Chair, Co-Chair of PGA Women’s Impact Network and serves Board Treasurer of Manhattan Neighborhood Network.  She is a graduate of Harvard-Radcliffe. 

Rachel Watanabe-Baton  Project:  Nappy-Headed Jap (working title) is a historical first person documentary focusing on the filmmaker’s multi-ethnic family and the impact of war, progressive politics, race, gender and religion.  Through archival photos, letters, and interviews with relatives, the trans-media project explores her experience growing up as a red-diaper baby in an inter-racial family with a lesbian mother, and the legacy of Japanese American internment, the civil war in Nigeria, Catholic Worker movement, and 1960’s idealism. (Documentary)



Important recent studies on diversity and women filmmakers:

Funded by NALIP


Funded by UCLA


Funded by Sundance and Women in Film Los Angeles